Hunting the Northern Lights in Inari in November

When I travelled to Lapland at the occasion of the Inari Camera Borealis festival, I also guided a few guests to see and photograph the Aurora. On 18 November, we went chasing the Northern Lights around Inari with my French guest Claire. The weather was quite bad in Saariselkä where Claire was staying, but the forecast was more optimistic further north around Inari. So off I drove from Inari, where I was staying myself, down to Saariselkä to pick her up.

First stop at the TV tower…

… which means driving all the way back to Inari, my starting point. Yes, that’s what I commit to do for my guests when the conditions require it!

I always love to stop there. When the sky is clear, you get a panoramic view on Lake Inari, which is a real treat. It is also a nice vantage point to see where the clouds are coming from or where they are going. When we arrived at the summit, the sky was almost completely clear, except to the south, which we don’t really mind when we go hunting the Northern Lights.

The Aurora forecast was not very strong that day, so we just started with what I describe as a regular view of the Northern Lights above Lake Inari. It is not strong or fancy, but you can clearly see the sky glow, and sometimes the glow intensifies, and moves.

A faint display of the Northern Lights above Lake Inari  as seen from the top of the TV tower
A faint display of the Northern Lights above Lake Inari  as seen from the top of the TV tower.

Moving around is the key

The clouds started becoming a bit too threatening to my taste, and the Aurora remained quite weak, so I decided to leake Lake Inari and move to another location.

As soon as we stopped, I noticed something rather unusual in the sky. Would that be the famous Steve that everybody has been speaking about, but that I had never met before?

Hunting the northern lights in November in Inari
Is this Steve? This was facing South…

After parking the car there between the trees, we walked towards the bridge that you may have already seen many of my pictures. I told Claire that “I have a good feeling right now” when seeing this band shoot up right above the bridge.

Hunting the Northern Lights in November in Inari
In my experience from all the times on the bridge, a green band shooting up there is a sure sign of something big being imminent.

So, do you believe me now with the “sure sign”?

Hunting the Northern Lights in November in Inari with this big explosion of green in the sky
A big Aurora explosion in the sky while hunting the Northern Lights in November in Inari

We stayed for a long hour on the bridge with gorgeous Aurora dancing all around us. Eventually the clouds started pouring in, and the Northern Lights were fading.

Hunting the Northern Lights in November in Inari, Finnish Lapland, above the river.
Although the Northern Lights were fading, they still produced quite a nice scene above the river.

Time to drive home

With these clouds it started to look quite bad for the rest of the evening. So we packed our gear and headed to the car. When driving towards the main road leading to Inari, Ivalo and Saariselkä, the clouds seemed to get thinner and eventually disappear! So instead of turning right towards Saariselkä, where I knew it was totally clouded, I decided to check out the situation further north in the direction of Utsjoki.

It did not take long to find again some clear sky. And what a good idea that we stopped there. Just look at this!

Strong display while hunting the Northern Lights north of Inari in Finnish Lapland
Despite the Aurora forecast being quite low, we were rewarded with some beautiful strong Northern Lights.

If you look closely on the photo above, you see that the horizon (which is north there) is covered with clouds. Again, I managed to find just the place with a clear sky! And the Aurora kept going and was all around us: not easy to choose where to look and which direction to point the camera!

Hunting the Northern Lights in November in Inari
Suddenly the biggest part of the Aurora was behind us… to the South.

One more before really heading home

The clouds kept coming closer to us, and we had to drive 1.5 hour back to Saariselkä (followed by 1 more hour for me to get back home). So it was time to take a last look at the Aurora before it disappeared behind these clouds.

Hunting the Northern Lights in Inari in November
What a treat with this Aurora! Too bad those clouds came really fast to us. We enjoyed nonetheless!

Hunting the Northern Lights in Inari in November is not a bad idea after all

I usually don’t travel to Lapland in November, because I am too afraid that the weather will not really cooperate. However, it was really not that bad, and there were many such nights with beautiful Northern Lights displays there in Inari. I did not even have to drive so many kilometres.

Book here your Northern Lights tour with me this winter!


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Danilo Talarico

    Hi Royann
    One question, where is excactly the Tv tower in Inari?
    And can you suggest me some point far from the center which i could reach by my self around inari?

    1. Rayann

      Hi Danilo,
      The TV tower is some 6-7 km south of Inari, and then 2-3 km up the hill. You need a car to get there.
      If you are staying in Inari without a car, your best bet is to go on the lake (in front of Hotelli Inari), and walk as far as you can to avoid the village lights reflecting on the snow. Beware the snowmobiles though! Make yourself visible :)
      Good luck!

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